MP hits roof in school build cash protest

MP Craig Whittaker stages rooftop protest.
MP Craig Whittaker stages rooftop protest.

Two Calderdale schools with mouldy classrooms and “rotting” roofs have been denied “vital” funding by the Government for the second time.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker “hit the roof” on Tuesday when he staged a rooftop protest at Todmorden High School, after Todmorden and Calder High Schools were not included in the Priority Schools Building Programme that was announced this week.

The schools didn’t qualified for funding under the old Building Schools for the Future programme, as the need for a rebuild was judged by criteria which included exam results and social deprivation.

Now, under the new system every school in England is surveyed and funding priority is given to schools in the worst state of dilapidation and the highest demand for school places.

Conservative MP Mr Whittaker said: “The roofs are rotting to bits and these are the conditions that our young people in the school have to put up with on a daily basis.

“The schools have spent years and years painting over the problems to try to keep the water out but as you can see from around the school there are lots of areas where they are just losing the battle. It is time for us to get money for the schools and that is what I am going to be hammering home to David Cameron and everyone who listens down in London.”

Calderdale councillor Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden) said: “When the former Education Minister Michael Gove visited Calder High some years ago he described it as one of the worst schools he had ever seen. Having cancelled the Building Schools For The Future funding Todmorden High School and Calder High were to receive under the previous Labour Government, the Tories and Lib Dem Coalition now deliver this double blow to the Upper Valley despite years of promises and pledges from our local MP.”

Coun Janet Battye (Lib Dem, Calder) said: “Calderdale Council has done what it can, within its means, to repair and maintain the school buildings. It’s putting its own money into building a new classroom block at Todmorden High School but this isn’t enough.”

Queensbury School also missed out on funding.